design indaba: interview with filmmaker casey neistat





designboom is an official media partner of the annual design indaba conference in cape town which showcases how design, creativity and innovation can positively impact the world. the line-up of international speakers hail from a range of sectors, sharing their expertise and experiences.


we caught up with 2015 design indaba conference speaker new york-based filmmaker casey neistat, who gives us some insight as to what goes on behind-the-camera.



designboom: what originally made you want to become a film maker?


casey neistat: the desire to be heard. movies are a way of sharing perspective and sharing ideas. I wanted to be able to communicate better, and movies helped me do that.


a look inside casey neistat’s wildly functional studio!
video courtesy of casey neistat





DB: how would you describe your approach?


CN: I rarely write a script or form an approach. I just start with an idea. capturing the reality of a situation or experience is paramount. so I try to embrace the experience, capture it the best I can, then in the edit share what I actually experience.



DB: who or what has been the biggest single influence on your way of thinking?


CN: malcolm X, werner herzog, george patton. get it done at all costs is an attitude that embodies everything I do in life. this is particularly true with filmmaking.


‘her water broke’ by casey neistat
video courtesy of casey neistat





DB: what would you say is your strongest skill?


CN: getting it done. I’m not sure if that can be qualified as a skill, but the inability to get it done is something that cripples a lot of people in the creative space. when there’s no road map to what you should be doing, you’re on your own to figure it out, and the temptation to abandon projects – just give up – is ever present. pushing through that is everything.



DB: what formats or mediums do you enjoy working with the most?


CN: I have no loyalty to mediums or formats. I like 35mm just as much as sharing on snapchat. the craft has never excited me, only what can be done with it.


‘travel with style’ – casey neistat for j.crew
video courtesy of casey neistat





DB: what are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?


CN: new media. technology shifts excite me a lot. furthering the accessibility of creation and sharing. I want filmmaking to be as attainable a medium as paper and pencil. only then will we see a real change and the true potential. everyday we are inching closer toward that eventuality.



DB: what are you passionate about besides your work?


CN: my family over everything. they’re what drive me. beyond that I like to run.

‘snowboarding new york city’
video courtesy of casey neistat





DB: do you have any superstitious beliefs or rules that you live by?


CN: superstitions; NO!

rules to live by… never operate out of fear. I try my hardest never to have a fear of failure be a consideration when making decisions.


‘what would you do with $25,000?’
video courtesy of casey neistat





DB: what’s your personal motto?


CN: work hard and be brave.


‘make it count’
video courtesy of casey neistat



design indaba
is a multifaceted platform committed to a better world through creativity. the south-african online publication hosts an annual festival and social impact do tank in cape town. the design indaba festival has been created by ravi naidoo in 1995, with focus on african and global creativity, through the lens of the work and ideas of leading thinkers and doers, opinion formers, trendsetters and industry experts.



design indaba conference 2015
is a three-day event (february 25 – 27) in cape town and is all about illustrating how design, creativity and innovation can positively impact the world. so much more than a ‘how-to’ conference, this is a forum fueled by inspiration that breeds ideas, ingenuity and innovation. the conference is an opportunity to listen to the world’s foremost creatives, entrepreneurs and trendsetters. it’s the not-to-be-missed creative event in africa.


see designboom’s coverage of the 2014 design indaba conference here.